Hocus Pocus 2 [Grade: 86.66%]

Director: Anne Fletcher

Story By: Jen D’Angelo, David Kirschner, & Blake Harris

Cast: Whitney Peak, Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Belissa Escobedo, Sam Richardson, Doug Jones, and Tony Hale

* * *

This was actually a very cute sequel. I liked it. 

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Theme & Story: A-

Pacing: A

Character: A

Overall “Paper” Score: A

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Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Disney Originals Family Comedy Fans: Worth the Watch

Hocus Pocus 1 Fans: Don’t Rush

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

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TAKEAWAYS:

1. Teenagers fight to protect the town of Salem from the Sanderson Sisters who have been brought back and are seeking not only life past dawn, but also a centuries long revenge on the town. This is Hocus Pocus 2. 

Thematically, the messaging I walked away with, and found to be executed clearly, was the consequences we can face when driven by a greed for power and revenge. 👍🏾

The strength of the story for me were Acts Two and Three. It’s where the bulk of the nostalgia lived for me, and blending of the Sanderson Sisters and Becca’s crew blended well with intentional engagement and entertainment. 👍🏾

The slight area of push with the story for me was Act One. Now this isn’t because Act One was random and so off kilter to the rest of the story (overall, this story from beginning to end had great continuity and cohesion), but from a more personal level it just felt like an odd pick up point for the story based on the purpose/motivation of the first installment even with the slight crossover/shifting of the motivation that seemed to take place around the “Walgreens scene.”🤷🏾‍♂️

2. YES for Rupaul’s Drag Race representation! 👍🏾🙌🏾

3. The Sanderson Sister entrance put a smile on my face, for sure. 👍🏾

4. The young Sanderson Sisters definitely understood the assignment. 👍🏾

5. With a runtime of about 107 minutes, Hocus Pocus 2 definitely delivered with the entertainment and nostalgia. At one point, there’s 3 interconnected stories happening, and the pacing of the film never felt rushed nor awkward. It was well used time, for me. 👍🏾

6. I thought the mirror and selfie moments in Walgreens were cute and clever. 👍🏾

7. BILLY! 🙌🏾

8. Awwww… The ending… 

9. Chile, not the “brooms” 🤦🏾‍♂️😂😂

10. When looking at the younger stars of this installment, I was more drawn to Belissa Escobedo as Izzy. There were moments in Act Three where I felt some her lines were a little too obvious to the purpose of her character—being the thinker / smart and resourceful one—but her energy and engagement with Whitney Peak as Becca was always interesting and full of spirit. 👍🏾

To be honest, I wasn’t as moved with the Sanderson Sisters. They did have very strong thematic followthrough—100%. They also had a few moments here and there that were funny and entertaining, but the motivation for the sisters just didn’t provide them any room to really be the Sanderson Sisters from the first film, in my opinion. In the first film, they wanted to eat children in order to be immortal. In this film, it’s about a revenge and the collection of items in order to make this revenge a possibility, BUT they weren’t even the ones in search of the items…maybe that’s what’s missing for me, they weren’t really owning/in charge of their motivation as they were in the first film. And even though they were looking for Traske, it still just didn’t feel the same.  🥴🤷🏾‍♂️

* * *

Overall #HocusPocus2 gives Avengers: Infinity Wars – meets ParaNorman – meets Hocus Pocus – meets Twitches 

As a completely standalone film, Hocus Pocus 2 is a solid Disney Original from beginning to end—especially when looking at its PG rating. Additionally, it seemed to serve as the passing over of the torch to a newer generation of “Sanderson Sisters.” 

For some who look at Hocus Pocus 2 as a nostalgic follow up, there might be some resistance. Midler, Parker, and Najimy delivered performances that we all know and love, and aspects of the writing even allowed for us nostalgic seekers to experience “our Sanderson Sisters.” On the other hand, the story feels much more light and comedic versus the fanatical horror PG vibe of the first installment which might not translate well for other nostalgic viewers. 

It definitely gives that “straight to DVD sequel” vibe, but again, still a solid film as a standalone vs a followup to the first.

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